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Detuning happy bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Benjamin Strange, Apr 9, 2003.


  1. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Does anybody use any alternative tunings? I tune my bass in 5ths (CGDA), and I'm looking to buy a new bass. Some basses handle alternative tunings well, the C sounds fat, and the A string doesn't get too thin; others just sound terrible. If you guys have any recommendations on a bass that likes alternative tunings or detunings, I am all ears.
     
  2. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    You might want to try this in the Michael Manring/Steve Lawson forum. Manring is famous for his use of altered tunings.

    Also try www.manthing.com There's a list of his basses, and the tunings for each song. He uses piccolo strings, though, and probably doesn't tune as low as you.

    As for a bass that handles detuning, as you say you're a little like Ryan Martinie of Mudvayne, style-wise, he detunes quite a bit, and part of the reason is that he likes the sound of the detuned strings. He plays a Warwick, and I'd say the lows are pretty fat, but well defined. But, I don't listen to much Mudvayne, so maybe someone more knowledgable about him/them has something to say about that.
     
  3. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I've already looked into the Hyperbass, as well as Warwicks. The Thumb gets really thin on the higher strings, and is generally too clanky for my tastes. I'm thinking rounder tones, but with a little bite. Low mid punch, you know?
     
  4. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    Musicman, maybe?

    You could look into a Dingwall, with fanned frets and different scales for the bass and treble sides. This would tighten up the lower strings but not make the higher strings too tight.

    Besides that, what you need is a very rigid neck. I remember you were looking into graphite - Status necks are very rigid. Give that a shot. Obviously, use heavy strings on the low strings, etc. But I'm sure you already knew that.
     
  5. I'm just curious... What string gauges do you use for that tuning? You must be using a custom set? What are the advantages of such tuning? Of course there's the obvious extended range but, is this the only reason? By the way, I suggest that you look at graphite-neck basses (Modulus, Zon, Status, etc.).
     
  6. Billdog

    Billdog

    Feb 27, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    Look up Quarrington on the internet for those of you interested in pro's and con's of 5ths tunings. He is an upright player in fifths. He has the history of 5ths tuning on DB on his site among many other things.
     
  7. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I'm using a custom set 120, 90, 60, and 35. And I am playing on a graphite neck Peavey B-Quad. It doesn't handle the low C string too well, and the A is a little choked. But it is a maple bass, and a Peavey to boot, so I don't expect too much from it.

    I've been tuning like this for years. I get extended range, more definition on chords (ex. play a major chord on EADG tuning, it gets muddy and the 3rd disappears. In CGDA, the third is an octave up, so the color of the chord rings out nicely). I just like it.

    Thanks for the heads up on Quarrington. I'll check him out.
     
  8. Billdog

    Billdog

    Feb 27, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    You're totally welcome!
     
  9. rockbassist1087

    rockbassist1087 Guest

    Nov 29, 2002
    Long Island, NY
    Musicmans sound good tuned low. IMO, you should shop for a 5 string bass, a B string will sound alot better tuned to C than an E string would sound. That's what I gathered im my experiences at least.